Helping Protect Kansas City Homes From Water Damage, A Molds Best Friend

Water Damage in Kansas City Homes

Over the next few blogs we are going to dive in to how to prevent water damage from damaging your home. Everything from foundation issues to molding issues, water damage can cause havoc to your home. This first blog is going to go over some steps on mold prevention. Let’s start with why mold is dangerous and how to identify mold.

So what are molds you ask? According to the EPA website,
“Molds are part of the natural environment. Outdoors, molds play a part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees, but indoors, mold growth should be avoided. Molds reproduce by means of tiny spores; the spores are invisible to the naked eye and float through outdoor and indoor air. Mold may begin growing indoors when mold spores land on surfaces that are wet. There are many types of mold, and none of them will grow without water or moisture.”

Why is it important to know? The EPA website states,
“Molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions), irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances (mycotoxins). Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash (dermatitis). Allergic reactions to mold are common. They can be immediate or delayed. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. Research on mold and health effects is ongoing.”

According to Black Mold Award Space–

Symptoms that mold allergies cause include:
Cold or flu like symptoms
Coughing
Sneezing
Sore throat
Irritated, itchy throat
Blocked nose
Itchy nose
Runny nose
Sinus congestion
Sinus headaches
Difficulty breathing, shortness of breath
Wheezing
Irritated, itchy skin
Skin rash, hives
Watery eyes
Red, bloodshot eyes
Itchy eyes
Itchy ears
Hair loss, baldness
Hay fever symptoms

Moisture Prevention and Control Tips- Control Water Damage to Your Home

Moisture Control is the Key to Mold Control
• Condensation on the inside of a windowpane.
• When water leaks or spills occur indoors – ACT QUICKLY. If wet or damp materials or areas are dried 24-48 hours after a leak or spill happens, in most cases mold will not grow.
• Clean and repair roof gutters regularly.
• Make sure the ground slopes away from the building foundation, so that water does not enter or collect around the foundation.
• Keep air conditioning drip pans clean and the drain lines unobstructed and flowing properly
• Keep indoor humidity low. If possible, keep indoor humidity below 60 percent (ideally between 30 and 50 percent) relative humidity. Relative humidity can be measured with a moisture or humidity meter, a small, inexpensive ($10-$50) instrument available at many hardware stores.
• If you see condensation or moisture collecting on windows, walls or pipes ACT QUICKLY to dry the wet surface and reduce the moisture/water source. Condensation can be a sign of high humidity.

Actions that will help to reduce humidity

• Vent appliances that produce moisture, such as clothes dryers, stoves, and kerosene heaters to the outside where possible. (Combustion appliances such as stoves and kerosene heaters produce water vapor and will increase the humidity unless vented to the outside.)
• Use air conditioners and/or de-humidifiers when needed.
• Run the bathroom fan or open the window when showering. Use exhaust fans or open windows whenever cooking, running the dishwasher or dishwashing, etc.

Actions that will help prevent condensation

• Growing on a wooden headboard in a room with high humidity. Click on the image for a larger version.
• Reduce the humidity.
• Increase ventilation or air movement by opening doors and/or windows, when practical. Use fans as needed.
• Cover cold surfaces, such as cold water pipes, with insulation.
• Increase air temperature.

Identification of Black Mold

“Toxic black mold is a greenish-black gelatinous mold. It is usually slimy because of a wet layer on the top. However if a toxic black mold colony’s water source runs out it can appear dry and powdery.”
There are several molds that look similar to toxic black mold. If you find what you think might be Stachybotrys the only way you can tell for sure is to have a mold expert look at a sample under a microscope.
According to black mold award space, “Never try to remove toxic black mold on your own. Disturbing toxic black mold can make it release huge amounts of spores and mycotoxins throughout your home, making your symptoms much worse.

If you have toxic black mold in your home you should talk to a professional mold removal service experienced in removing toxic black mold. They should be able to remove it with minimal disturbance, while also containing spores and mycotoxins. It’s also best to move to temporary accommodation until the removal has been completed, so as to avoid further damage to your health.
“Mycotoxins cause toxic symptoms which are much worse than the allergic symptoms caused by ordinary molds. Some of the symptoms caused by toxic molds include bleeding, damage to internal organs, mental impairment, cancer and even death in some cases.”- Black Mold Award Space.